While he sympathizes with his baseball compatriot Alex (The Alphabet) Anthopoulos because of the Toronto Blue Jays current woes, Andy Dunn can take solace in the fact it has no bearing whatsoever on the playing talent headed this way in June.
Dunn, partner and president of the Vancouver Canadians, has established a solid friendship with the Blue Jays’ general manager since the Northwest League C’s signed a player development contract with Canada’s only major league baseball club in September of 2010.
“Our players this year will basically be from the Major League Baseball amateur draft during the second week of June,” Dunn said Friday as he watched more dreaded raindrops pelt against his office window at Nat Bailey Stadium. “The Blue Jays will be assigning youngsters from their college senior years who are 21 and 22, as well as some prospects as young as 17 and 18 in their high school senior years. We also could get a few players from the Blue Jays extended program that is still in progress at their training site in Dunedin, Florida.”
Dunn and Canadians’ owners Jake Kerr and Jeff Mooney were in Dunedin during spring training to present last year’s Toronto-owned players with their NWL championship rings. The C’s were repeat winners in 2012 and Dunn has every intention to make it three in a row this year. “Once you get in the groove,” he says, “it’s too much fun to stop.”
HERE ‘N’ THERE: With the C’s home opener set for June 17, their full promotional schedule will be coming out next week. It will include the induction of Len Corben and Terry Bell into the Canadians Broadcast and Journalism Hall of Fame on August 17. Corben, a baseball aficionado, has been a sports columnist on the North Shore since 1959. His third published novel — Play It Again! — will be launched Tuesday at Cheers Restaurant in North Vancouver at 6:45 p.m. Bell covered the Nat Bailey Stadium baseball beat for a dozen years at both the Pacific Coast League and Northwest League levels.
SHORT HOPS: Richmond’s Jimmy Van Ostrand has yet another trophy to add to his ever-growing collection. The former star athlete at McMath high school (baseball, basketball, volleyball and badminton) was named this week as the International Baseball Federation’s Senior Athlete of the Year for 2012. Van Ostrand, 28, has been a leader with Canada’s national teams since 2007. He’s currently hitting .400 with Syracuse of the International League, top affiliate of the Washington Nationals.
END ZONE: Television and radio broadcaster James Cybulski, one of the early on-air personalities with Team 1040, has left his drive-home radio gig on TSN 1050 in Toronto and will be returning to the west coast on rival Sportsnet Pacific. Cybulski, 37, won a Gemini Award for his TSN television feature on former Toronto Raptors head coach Jay Triano’s life-changing encounter with Terry Fox dating back 30 years.
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